Clonal amniotic fluid-derived stem cells express characteristics of both mesenchymal and neural stem cells

Biol Reprod. 2006 Mar;74(3):545-51. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.105.046029. Epub 2005 Nov 23.


Recent evidence has shown that amniotic fluid may be a novel source of fetal stem cells for therapeutic transplantation. We previously developed a two-stage culture protocol to isolate a population of amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AFMSCs) from second-trimester amniocentesis. AFMSCs maintain the capacity to differentiate into multiple mesenchymal lineages and neuron-like cells. It is unclear whether amniotic fluid contains heterogeneous populations of stem cells or a subpopulation of primitive stem cells that are similar to marrow stromal cells showing the behavior of neural progenitors. In this study, we showed a subpopulation of amniotic fluid-derived stem cells (AF-SCs) at the single-cell level by limiting dilution. We found that NANOG- and POU5F1 (also known as OCT4)-expressing cells still existed in the expanded single cell-derived AF-SCs. Aside from the common mesenchymal characteristics, these clonal AF-SCs also exhibit multiple phenotypes of neural-derived cells such as NES, TUBB3, NEFH, NEUNA60, GALC, and GFAP expressions both before and after neural induction. Most importantly, HPLC analysis showed the evidence of dopamine release in the extract of dopaminergic-induced clonal AF-SCs. The results of this study suggest that besides being an easily accessible and expandable source of fetal stem cells, amniotic fluid will provide a promising source of neural progenitor cells that may be used in future cellular therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and nervous system injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Amniotic Fluid / cytology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Clone Cells
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Fetal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Fetal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HeLa Cells
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / genetics
  • Osteocytes / cytology


  • Biomarkers
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • NANOG protein, human
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • POU5F1 protein, human
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Dopamine